Mexico to observe 3 days of mourning after 8.1 quake kills more than 60

Rescuers work to search the rubble in the Juchitan municipality, in Oaxaca, Mexico, on Saturday after a magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck late Thursday. Photo by EPA-EFE/Jorge Nunez

Sept. 10 (UPI) — Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has ordered three days of mourning in the aftermath of the most powerful earthquake to hit the country in a century.

Nieto made the declaration after visiting the town of Juchitán late Friday, where the quake hit hardest.

The earthquake, measured by the U.S. Geological Survey at a magnitude of 8.1, has so far killed at least 61 people, authorities said. Some news outlets reported a few additional deaths.

Emergency crews have begun the recovery and cleanup effort, as the quake caused substantial damage in the southeastern part of the country — the same region that also absorbed a direct hit from Hurricane Katia, a Category 1 storm, late Friday. At least two people died in a mudslide linked to the storm.

Nearly 2 million people were left in the darkness without power following the quake, and schools in 11 states were closed as a safety measure.

Though seismic activity is common in Mexico, officials said Thursday’s quake was the strongest to hit the country in 100 years.